Omega, Rolex, Breitling: James Bond is an avowed watch fan with good taste. Chrono24 is diving deep into all the Bond watches and the special features that quartermaster Q has added to the secret agent’s timepieces over the years. Spoiler alert: Q has left one watch untouched. Which Bond watch was it?
1. Breitling Top Time: Thunderball (1965)
The first thing that probably comes to mind when most watch enthusiasts hear the name Breitling Top Time is the watch’s eye-catching “Zorro” dial. James Bond fans, on the other hand, will probably think of the 1965 film Thunderball. In the movie, Q has outfitted the chronograph with a particularly precise Geiger counter and 007, played by Sean Connery, uses the watch to detect and eventually destroy nuclear weapons on the “Disco Volante” yacht belonging to villain Emilio Largo. The scene fits the 1960s arms race zeitgeist to a T and places the watch front and center in the film’s plotline. Even if the current Breitling Top Time can’t track down nuclear weapons, it can hold its own against better-known chronographs like the Daytona or TAG Heuer Carrera in terms of design and functionality. Plus, this watch has the claim to fame of accompanying the most legendary secret of all time on the silver screen.
2. Breitling Navitimer: Thunderball (1965)
The Breitling Navitimer pilot’s watch also plays a major role in Thunderball, though, this time, the watch stands out not in the air but underwater. While diving in The Bahamas, 007 finds a Navitimer belonging to French NATO pilot François Derval. The watch was meant to ensure the pilot’s safe passage across the Atlantic, but he fell victim to Bond’s opponents SPECTRE No.1 and SPECTRE No.2. To make matters worse, the villains took the watch from the fallen pilot. When Bond discovers the timepiece, he returns it to the beautiful Bond girl and François’ sister, Domino, as a memento. While the Navitimer certainly didn’t bring its owner any luck in the film, it is nonetheless one of the most popular and well-known pilot’s watches of all time. It is easy to recognize with its multifunctional slide rule bezel. The in-house B01 caliber powers current models. The beautifully designed movement can be admired through the display case back and hopefully will bring its owners more luck than Derval.
3. Rolex Submariner: Live and Let Die (1973)
Watch lovers like to think the legendary Rolex Submariner has a superpower or two up its sleeve, but none can hold a candle to James Bond’s Sub. In 1973’s Live and Let Die, 007, played by Roger Moore, uses his watch to not only protect himself from getting shot and free himself from captivity but also win over the hearts of women. The Submariner can generate a magnetic field with such intensity that almost anything is possible. Bullets can’t come near the secret agent; even the zippers on women’s clothing don’t stand a chance. The Rolex Submariner’s “true” superpowers, i.e., water resistance to 300 m (984 ft) and iconic style, are downright boring in comparison.
4. Omega Seamaster Professional 300M: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Since the 1990s, James Bond has been outfitted with watches not from Rolex or Breitling but from Omega. It’s hard to imagine anything else after quartermaster Q equipped the Seamaster 300M with top-notch weaponry. In Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999), and Die Another Day (2002), 007, as portrayed by Pierce Brosnan, uses his watch as a remote detonator to free himself from a whole host of different situations.
In The World Is Not Enough, Bond’s watch gets an upgrade: LED lights illuminate a dim mountain landscape, enabling Bond to chase his opponent on skis and successfully escape via a parachute. With the help of miniature grappling hooks, the timepiece even manages to get Bond out of a 50-foot deep nuclear bunker! In Die Another Day (2002), the familiar Seamaster gets yet another update from Q. Bond can now shoot laser beams from his watch’s crown by applying light pressure on the dial and release a lethal firing pin by turning the bezel. Both features catch his enemies completely by surprise, of course.
5. Omega Seamaster 300: Spectre (2015)
The latest Bond, Daniel Craig, also put his trust in Omega in 2015’s Spectre. A highlight of the film is Bond’s battle with adversary Blofeld, head of Spectre. Bond is joined by his Omega Seamaster 300, which he wears on a casual NATO strap. Bond girl Swann saves the day by pressing the watch’s crown at just the right time, triggering an explosion that gets both protagonists out of a sticky situation in the nick of time. Fortunately, the Omega Seamaster 300 doesn’t explode in real life, but it has proven to be the timepiece of choice for millions of watch fans. The model isn’t lacking in useful features, though: Hardly any other diving watch on the market offers so much in terms of functionality and design at this price point.
The watch with no superpower…
6. Omega Seamaster Diver 300M 90.42.20.01.001
Despite getting design input from Daniel Craig, the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M from the newest Bond film, No Time to Die, will presumably do without any additions from Q. While it makes our list as the watch without a superpower, this timepiece has nothing to be ashamed of. The Seamaster Diver 300M is just as well known as the watches mentioned above, but it can only dream of boasting the unique features of its fellow Bond references.
Does Q have a few special features up his sleeve for the film? Or will another watch appear on 007’s wrist? One with even more superpowers than the ones already mentioned? We’ll find out on October 8th (or September 30th, if you’re in the UK). That is, of course, if the premiere date sticks!